Imee hits DA plan to import white onions

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Imee hits DA plan to import white onions
A vendor in public markets in Marikina City arranged his white onion produce, which he sold for P380 per kilo on August 12, 2022
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Imee Marcos yesterday hit the plan of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to import white onions supposedly to address a shortage of supply.

The senator, elder sister of President Marcos, said the resignation of some officials over the attempt to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar should be a warning to unscrupulous groups wanting to illegally profit from massive importation of agricultural products.

“Let this serve as a fair warning to all concerned. We are aware of the modus operandi going on. It’s the same old story. It just keeps repeating itself,” Marcos said in Filipino and English.

“First, they smuggle. Then they create a shortage and produce a legitimate import permit. By next week, I have no doubt smuggled onions will flood the market covered by a ‘legitimate’ importation order of gargantuan proportions,” she said.

At the height of the sugar import fiasco last week, some P36 million worth of onions misdeclared as “spring roll patties” and “plain churros” were confiscated in Misamis Oriental, she added.

Marcos remains unconvinced of a local shortage of white onions because the DA has not presented inventories of the crop vis-à-vis its planting and harvest seasons.

“The DA was urged to assess white onion shortage, as it was asked on sugar and porcine PAP (processed animal protein) shortages. Again, no data could be presented, just blanket claims that the warehouses we inspected were really empty,” she said.

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